Internal Self Helper

From Pluralpedia, the collaborative plurality dictionary
internal self helper (n.)
SynonymsInner Self Helper (n.), ISH (n.)
Applies toheadmates
CoinerRalph B. Allison, MD
OriginPsychiatric Term

An internal self helper is a headmate whose role is holding knowledge about the system, headmates, trauma, and/or internal workings. Some internal self helpers may also be gatekeepers.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The term was coined as Inner Self Helper, or ISH, by Dr. Ralph Allison and may have been introduced in his presentation "Psychotherapy of Multiple Personality" in 1978. "This entity will not accept the definition of personality, and has, itself the power to create helper personalities. I abbreviate the full name to ISH, which means "similar to, or alike." This is appropriate, since it is similar to the main personality in many of its basic characteristics. It has knowledge and strength but is incapable of showing hatred or fear."[2]

The concept was first published in an article titled "Spiritual Helpers I Have Met" in 1985.[3] Dr. Allison also claimed to have met spiritual headmates who ranked above the ISH, with the apparent highest in power being called a Higher Helper.[4] The paper's conclusion ended with the following assertion: "Therefore, to do successful therapy, the therapist must accept them for what they claim to be, and, as long as the therapy is progressing satisfactorily, there is no reason to be skeptical about who or what they 'really' are."

In 1989, M. Ann Adams, RNP, used the term "Internal Self Helper," accredited to Allison. Adams found through a survey of forty therapists who had together treated hundreds of MPD patients that 50% of therapists expected an ISH in every multiple patient and most had worked with helpers as assistants or peers.[5] A 1991 paper written by Christine Comstock mistakenly cited ISH as being coined in 1974, also done in the previous paper.[6] A citation in Adams's article listed a paper Comstock presented at a meeting in 1985 which also used the word "internal." She identifies the concept as controversial, saying some professionals argue that the ISH is "unprovable, unnecessary, and probably iatrogenic," and that others relate inner helpers to God.

Dr. Allison later detailed on his website, originally archived in 1998, a list of characteristics of an Inner Self Helper, or Damage Control Officer: "A. Prime Directive of the ISH is to keep patient alive until her Life Plan is completed and fulfilled. The ISH will prevent suicide in any way possible. B. Has no date of origin; has always been present. C. Can only agape love; is incapable of hatred. D. Has awareness of and belief in "The Creator." E. Is aware that the Celestial Intelligent Energy (CIE) put her in charge of teaching this person how to live and move forward properly. F. Is able to work on the inside of the patient's mind, as co-therapist, while the human therapist works on the outside. G. Knows all about history of patient and can predict short term future. H. Possesses no personal sense of gender identity, but will assume either gender the therapist is comfortable with. I. Talks intellectually instead of emotionally, carefully chooses precise words, speaks in short concise sentences; prefers to answer questions; gives enigmatic instructions. ("Teach her humility today.") J. Avoids using slang; does not have the capacity for put-downs or guilt-trips. K. Is aware of patient's past lifetimes."[7]

Related Terms[edit | edit source]

Archivist, Lorekeeper, and Memory Holder describe other roles that center around inner-system knowledge.

For subterms of this archetype, see Category:ISH Subterms.

References[edit | edit source]

  2. Psychotherapy of Multiple Personality A description from an ISH: "I have many functions. I am the conscience. I am the punisher, if need be. I am the teacher, the answerer of questions. I am what she will be, although never completely, for she has her emotional outlets which I do not need. But she will have my reasoning ability to look at things objectively. I will always be here, and I will always be separate, but the kind of separateness which is yours, a oneness with a very fine line of distinction. An emergency backup perhaps. I must be the ability to know. If I am gone, she is just a body. She can send part of me off and leave a small portion. But if all is taken, she is a shell. Now my function is overseer of the dump. I am kept busy sorting out the different messes created and the problems created between the alternate personalities."
  3. Spiritual Helpers I Have Met. "At some point of disorder, the ISH is dissociated from the rest of the psychic energy, as it contains the ability to guide the organism with good judgment and practical sense. It attempts to bring order out of chaos and acts as an idea center, trying to influence the alter-personallties to cooperate so that all can have their needs met, danger can be avoided and basic survival of the total organism can be assured. It is a non-emotional, intellectual portion of the patient, an area of concepts designed to deal effectively with both internal and external problems. It is usually the ISH that guides the patient into the proper therapist's office. When it is discovered by the therapist, the ISH is an invaluable co-therapist thereafter."
  4. "Just above the ISH in the hierarchy may be the spirit of someone who died in their own body several hundred years ago. This one will give a brief description of life and death in some country at least 200 years ago, and assignment by God to help this poor lady out. One claimed to have been an Indian squaw in Montana who had been multiple in her lifetime. [...] Above that type of helper might be a spirit who reports she has never had her own body and has always been in the spirit dimension. This one acts exactly like the one who had been incarnated, but she has not yet had a body, so she has no personal appreciation for the difficulties we folks with bodies have in carrying out the ideas she thinks are good for us to follow. [...] Above that level will be Higher Helpers who claim to have been on earth in bodies many thousands of years ago, in a high religious role. One claimed to have been an Aztec Christ figure 4,000 years ago."
  5. Internal self helpers of persons with multiple personality disorder
  6. The inner self helper and concepts of inner guidance: historical antecedents, its role within dissociation, and clinical utilization
  7. Definition of Multiple Personality Disorder